Bell’s Palsy

Mature man with Bell's Palsy talking while half the face is paralyzed.

What is Bell’s Palsy?

Bell’s Palsy is a health condition named after the anatomist Charles Bell.  The condition occurs when the facial nerve is damaged and may cause one side of your face to become stiff, droopy, or even paralyzed.  Luckily, Bell’s Palsy usually goes away after a few weeks or months.  However, if you notice any symptoms such as a droopy face or inability to smile, you should seek medical attention immediately.  This is because the symptoms of Bell’s Palsy can be similar to those of serious conditions like stroke and brain tumors.  Read on to find out more about the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for Bell’s Palsy, and how Chinese Medicine can help.

Bell’s Palsy Symptoms:

If you have Bell’s Palsy you may experience symptoms like not being able to open or close one of your eyes, a droopy smile, and an overall asymmetrical facial appearance.  The severity of your symptoms may vary depending on how much your facial nerve is being affected.  You may also experience symptoms like having trouble eating or drinking, finding it difficult to pronounce some words, and muscle twitches in your face.  Occasionally, Bell’s Palsy may affect both sides of your face.

What Causes Bell’s Palsy?

When the facial nerve (technically called the seventh cranial nerve) gets swollen, inflamed, or compressed, this can affect the functioning of your facial muscles.  Damage to the facial nerve may be caused by triggers such as viruses, a lack of sleep, recent sickness, or even stress.  Bell’s Palsy may also be caused by an autoimmune disorder in some cases.

Bell’s Palsy Treatment

For most people, Bell’s Palsy symptoms simply improve on their own.  However, you may find that certain treatments like medications or physical therapy and massage could speed up your recovery.  The medications available to you may depend on the cause of your condition.  If your symptoms occurred due to a viral or bacterial infection you may be prescribed antiviral or antibacterial medications.  Similarly, corticosteroids may be prescribed if inflammation was affecting your facial nerve.  Home remedies like placing a damp towel over your face may also provide some relief.

How Can Chinese Medicine Help?

The human body is a complex system, where each organ has a part to play in maintaining your overall physical health.  According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, all the organs in the body are connected, and all have specific functions to carry out.  If an organ is too weak, it may not be able to function properly, which could affect other organs and lead to symptoms of disease.

In Chinese Medicine, the liver and gallbladder work together to control detoxification and maintain the nervous system.  If the liver and gallbladder are out of balance with each other or the rest of the body, you could experience nerve problems such as Bell’s Palsy.  By using techniques like acupuncture and Chinese herbs, a trained acupuncturist can strengthen a weaker organ, encouraging it to start functioning properly again.  That’s why Chinese Medicine practitioners aim to heal your body by addressing the underlying cause of your condition, in order to help your body to heal itself.


Bell’s Palsy is a condition where you lose control of your facial muscles due to damage to the facial nerve.  This can cause symptoms like an asymmetrical facial appearance and difficulty opening or closing your eye.  Damage to the facial nerve may be triggered by factors such as viruses or stress.  Luckily, this condition usually goes away by itself, but treatment can usually help speed up the healing process.  Chinese Medicine is a great treatment option for Bell’s Palsy because it focuses on addressing the root cause of your health condition, rather than purely focusing on reducing symptoms.


Kahn, A. & Larson, J. (2021, November 18). What Is Bell’s Palsy? Healthline.

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